Greta Thunberg’s words speak to larger truths about humanity


Photo of Greta Thunberg from twitter

A Swedish teenager goes from country to country in Europe, aiming salvos of scientific truth about climate crisis at the world’s recalcitrant  political and corporate leaders, most of whom are working very hard to pretend that there is no global climate crisis.

There is a broad and trenchant symbolism embedded in her words and actions, that reaches into the very soul of humanity.

“If we ignore, neglect or marginalize her, we are symbolically doing the same to every young person who stands up and enunciates truths, especially when those truths are firmly articulated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. If we negate Thunberg, we negate one of our most sophisticated and independent systems for understanding the world and communicating our best insights about it.

Such a negative response is particularly heinous when we all know that this young person will be alive long after most of the dominant figures in the corporate and regulatory sector will be dead, and thus will have to deal tomorrow with the results of their inaction.

In my view, we need to take the concerns of youth like Thunberg seriously, take their words into our hearts and minds, and then broadly and firmly act on them. Our common humanity depends upon it.” MORE


‘The Big Stall’ details how neoliberal think tanks blocked action on climate change

Neoliberalism is a philosophy that says growth and investor returns not hindered by government taxes and regulations will lead to economic prosperity. It results in the welfare of ordinary citizens and protection of the environment being ignored. It has been suggested that economic prosperity will trickle down to all eventually. On the contrary,experience has shown that neoliberalism results inevitably in a growing income gap in society.

The Bill Stall: How Big Oil and Think Tanks are Blocking Action on Climate Change in Canada By Donald Gutstein, James Lorimer & Company Ltd. 2018 $24.95

The world’s biggest oil companies knew for years that climate change was real, but they did all they could to derail government action to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Donald Gutstein’s latest book, The Big Stall: How Big Oil and Think Tanks are Blocking Action on Climate Change in Canada is a deep dive into the strategies that Canadian oil companies and their friends have implemented to prevent political action to slow and reverse catastrophic climate change.

The author, a former communications professor and co-director of the media-monitoring project NewsWatch Canada at Simon Fraser University, follows the individuals and organizations that have shaped Canada’s energy and environmental policy over the last four decades.

Gutstein doesn’t neglect the politicians (he devotes a chapter to Alberta NDP leader and just-defeated Premier Rachel Notley), but he spends more time on the players who fly slightly under the public radar or whose impact is felt long after they’ve fallen from view. People like Maurice Strong, appointed the first head of Petro-Canada by Pierre Trudeau and the secretary-general of the UN Conference on the Human Environment, who said in his opening speech that “There is no fundamental conflict between development and the environment.”

That this position, articulated in 1972, could sum up current official Canadian climate change policy, wasn’t inevitable, argues Gutstein. Justin Trudeau’s “clean growth economy” — a mix of investing in ‘green’ technologies and “getting our oil to new markets,” — can be traced to the rise of neoliberalism in the 1970s. But we can’t only blame the ideological context Trudeau inherited. There has been a concerted campaign to stall and prevent significant action on climate change by fossil-fuel industry lobbyists and policy think-tanks. MORE


Scheer: No apologies for secret meetings with oil executives
Canadian Energy Pipeline Association to lobby B.C. government on endangered caribou plans

ExxonMobil faces EU parliament ban after no show at climate hearing

The European Parliament votes on a new copyright regulation on March 26, 2019. CC-BY-4.0: European Union 2019. Source: EP

ExxonMobil faces losing its lobby privileges at the European parliament after the company failed to show up for the first hearing into climate change denial.

ExxonMobil would become only the second multinational – after Monsanto – to lose access to MEPs, parliamentary meetings and digital resources if it loses a high-level vote expected by the end of April.

The oil giant publicly supports the Paris agreement but has drawn the ire of scientists, academics and environmentalists, who accuse it of peddling climate misinformation.

The ban request is being submitted by the Green MEP Molly Scott Cato. She said: “This is the company that denied the science, despite knowing the damage their oil exploitation was causing; which funded campaigns to block action on climate and now refuses to face up to its environmental crimes by attending today’s hearing. We cannot allow the lobbyists from such corporations free access to the corridors of the European parliament. We must remove their badges immediately.” MORE

Exxon’s climate denial set to face first public scrutiny as legal woes mount

Vehicles pass by an Esso gas station in Ottawa on Oct. 26, 2018. Esso is a trademark of Imperial Oil, an affiliate of Exxon. File photo by Alex Tétreault

It’s been nearly four years since leaked documents revealed Exxon Mobil Corp.understood that fossil fuel emissions caused the planet to warm before it began funding a Big Tobacco-style misinformation campaign to discredit climate science.

Now the world’s largest publicly traded oil company will face public questions for the first time over its role in creating a climate crisis that threatens to upend human civilization and render dozens of major cities uninhabitable before the end of the century.

On Thursday, European Parliament members are set to hold a hearing in Brussels that could strip Exxon Mobil of lobbying access and deepen the oil giant’s mounting legal woes.

“The historical evidence is incontrovertible,” Geoffrey Supran, the Harvard University researcher who co-authored the first peer-reviewed analysis of Exxon Mobil’s history of climate communication, said by phone. “The evidence points only one way, that these companies and trade associations funded misinformation to stifle policymakers.”

The organizers say Exxon Mobil declined an invitation to testify. Spokesmen for the company did not respond to a request for comment on Monday. MORE